Wendy Christman lets her teenage male clients in on a secret. “You’re going to get compliments, and they’re not going to be about your skin,” she tells them.
Sure enough, recently a 16-year-old boy walked into Christman’s Saving Face Skin Spa and Acne Clinic and told her, “I got three compliments today on my haircut – and I haven’t had a haircut!” One persistent girl continued to insist that he must have done something new.
That’s par for the course, says Christman. When it comes to dealing with acne, girls don’t want to acknowledge that there was a problem in the first place, so they seize on something else. The topic can be embarrassing, and not just for teenagers. “Saving Face is about getting rid of that embarrassment,” she maintains. “It’s life-changing.”
Visiting the spa, clients will learn that a) there are over 20 types of acne, and acne imposters (who knew?) so odds are, they’ve been buying the wrong products for their skin type and b) many over-the-counter products include ingredients that cause users to continually break out. “The companies only make money if you’re breaking out,” explains Christman. “We have an ingredients list that I share with my clients and I tell them, ‘Compare them with the products that you’re using. Don’t use them any more.’”
The good news? “I know how to fix their acne and I can put them on the right ingredient component for their skin to help clear them up,” she says. “It’s not a shot in the dark. You’ll get the right products for your skin. It’s a systematic approach. Using diet, lifestyle and this combination approach, we can get most clients clear in about 90 days.”
Her approach includes three components, and clients can choose just one, two, or all three. “They have options,” Christman confirms. “It’s good, better, and best. They can come in just for the consultation and I can educate them. The second option is getting the education and using the products. The best option is to do the education, learn how skin works and acne forms, do the right skin care products for their skin, and the clearing program that’s going to get their skin clear as quickly as possible.” Treatments consist of peels or enzymes along with extractions.
Her clients range from teenagers to women in their late forties and fifties who are often astonished to find themselves battling what they consider an adolescent problem. Many high school athletes are affected in different ways by the demands of their sport. “Sometimes with baseball helmets, the strap will rub and cause acne mechanica – the friction where it’s rubbing the skin. We come up with different ways to prevent that from happening,” Christman explains. Runners, swimmers, and wrestlers get advice that’s specific to their lifestyle.
Christman believes that it’s important for people to understand that acne is genetic. “Typically if mom or dad has acne, there’s a high chance that kids are going to have acne,” she says. “It doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.”
For her, the issue is personal. “I had acne growing up,” she says. “I took every medication out there for acne and it still didn’t help my skin.” Eventually she decided to study skin as a way to solve her own problem.
“I had no desire to be an aesthetician at that point,” she continues. “I needed to learn what was happening. I was going to these doctors that spent 15 minutes with me, gave me a prescription, and sent me on my way with a follow up to come back with the hopes that my skin was going to clear up, but nothing changed other than drying my skin out. My skin was red and raw and I still had acne. It was frustrating.”
Finally she found an approach that worked, but the experience growing up helps her empathize with her clients. She always shares her story to let them know that she’s been there. “When people come in, a lot of the times their heads are down and they don’t make a lot of eye contact. I can see how the acne has affected them,” she says. “This is a very safe place to feel confident and not be self-conscious. I’m not here to judge. I’m here to help.”
Once clients’ skin begins to change, their confidence level also changes. “With kids, we look at their before pictures and they cry. And then their mom cries. And then I cry. It’s a crying party in here,” she laughs. “I feel like a proud mom, with each before and after success.”
One adult client shared that she was so self-conscious about her skin that she wouldn’t leave the office during the day because she didn’t want daylight to hit her face. After one of her treatments, she told Christman, “My boss asked me to go to lunch today, and I went! And I felt good.”
That kind of response continues to inspire Christman. “As we go through these treatments, I just watch them blossom and change and grow,” she beams. “It’s like a flower, they just open. I love watching that.”
For more information about Saving Face Skin Spa and Acne Clinic, visit savingfaceskinspa.com or call 360-943-1700.